Big Ten

Iowa offensive coordinator Greg Davis retires

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AP

Iowa offensive coordinator Greg Davis retires

Iowa will have a new offensive coordinator for the 2017 season after Greg Davis announced his retirement Friday.

Davis spent the past five seasons as the Hawkeyes' offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He had a 43-year career as a college football coach, including stints as the head coach at Tulane and as the offensive coordinator at Arkansas, North Carolina and Texas prior to his time in Iowa City.

"I have had a wonderful five years with the Hawkeye football program," Davis said in the announcement. "I would like to thank coach (Kirk) Ferentz, the entire staff, our players and Iowa fans everywhere. (Wife) Patsy and I have enjoyed our time in Iowa and not just the football part of it. The people of Iowa City and Hawkeye fans have been great. While we have our home in Dallas, there is no doubt we will be Hawkeye fans forever.
 
"This is my decision, but not a decision that was reached lightly. I remain passionate about the game of football and enjoyed teaching football to our players every day. Patsy has been a trooper through all these years. We have learned and enjoyed every step along the way. It's time for me to get closer to our family."

Iowa won 39 games in the five seasons Davis served as Ferentz's offensive coordinator, including that 12-win campaign in 2015, the winningest season in program history.

This past season, the Iowa offense not very effective, ranking 10th in the Big Ten in scoring (24.9 points a game) and 12th in the conference in yardage (325 yards a game).

The Hawkeyes ended their season with a thud, losing 30-3 to Florida in Monday's Outback Bowl.

There will be plenty of turnover on the Iowa offense next season. In addition to losing Davis, senior quarterback C.J. Beathard and senior running back LeShun Daniels Jr. will be moving on.

"I cannot thank Greg Davis enough for what he has meant to Iowa football these past five seasons," Ferentz said in the announcement. "Greg possesses a great football mind, and he brought a perspective and expertise to our program that made every one of our coaches and players better. Greg's coaching career spanned five decades, from high school to the biggest stage in college football — and each day he exemplified passion for the game while instilling character in his players. That is 'love for the game,' and without Greg, there's a little less of that in football today.

"Greg will be the first to admit he owes so much of his coaching success to his wife, Patsy. They were a wonderful team in Iowa City, and all of us with the Iowa football program wish them the very best."

Penn State's big finish: Ten big things from the weekend in Big Ten football

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USA TODAY

Penn State's big finish: Ten big things from the weekend in Big Ten football

Anyone else still emotionally recovering from Saturday night's Penn State-Iowa game?

That ending was one for the ages, a signature win if not on the resume at least in memory for the Nittany Lions, who went into Kinnick — where highly ranked teams haven't fared too well recently — and miraculously pulled out a last-second victory.

Trace McSorley and Saquon Barkley are the conference's stars of stars after that effort, and Iowa still managed to impress, even in defeat.

Of course there's plenty of Lions and Hawkeyes in the 10 big things from the weekend in Big Ten football.

1. McSorley magic

What. A. Finish.

You couldn’t have scripted a more entertaining final few minutes in Penn State’s incredible win over Iowa. The Hawkeyes blocked a field goal, then went 80 yards in three plays for a touchdown in less than a minute, only for Trace McSorley to lead the Nittany Lions right down the field and throw a game-winning touchdown pass with no time left on the clock. Amazing.

McSorley was the star of that final drive, completing seven passes for 68 yards and of course that insane final play, when he threaded a pass past three defenders and another one of his receivers before connecting with Juwan Johnnson. Those plays are the stuff legends are made of, and McSorley is becoming that kind of player in a hurry in Happy Valley.

The guy was by no means perfect Saturday, 31-for-48 for 284 yards, that touchdown and an interception. But is there any quarterback in the conference you’d rather give the ball to than McSorley? Of course it helps when you’ve got … 

2. Super Saquon

There is no better player in college football than Saquon Barkley. Period.

The Penn State running back is a freak of nature, he’s an unstoppable force that is impossible for opposing defenses to contain. Saturday night in Iowa City, when the Iowa defense actually did a decent job on the whole, allowing just one touchdown before the game-winner as time expired, Barkley racked up a jaw-dropping 358 all-purpose yards: 211 rushing yards on 28 carries, 94 receiving yards on 12 catches and 53 kick-return yards on three returns.

He’s impossible to tackle, weaving and bruising his way through defenses — and that’s without mentioning that the guy hurdles someone once a week!

Barkley has to be the Heisman favorite right now, up there with Big 12 quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Mason Rudolph. He’s racked up 853 rushing and receiving yards in just four games. He’s also just a thrill to watch.

Penn State didn’t play a perfect game by any stretch on Saturday. But they have two of the best players in the Big Ten, and because of it they could be in for a very special season.

3. Michigan’s dominating defense

It’s quite apparent that the Michigan offense is not very good. But the Michigan defense, on the other hand, is very, very good.

Watching the Wolverines try to score points against Purdue on Saturday was a challenge, even if they found some more success after Wilton Speight was injured and replaced by John O’Korn. But the defense is a completely different story, and it looks as if that side of the ball could allow Michigan to win any game for the remainder of the season.

Michigan allowed just 10 second-half yards to Purdue on Saturday. Think about that!

While you knew because of Jim Harbaugh’s recruiting success that a reload would be possible, it’s still kind of shocking that the unit is this good despite having to replace 10 starters from a year ago.

Michigan’s offense might not be inspiring any confidence in a run at a title, but the defense sure should be.

4. Impressive in defeat

Iowa’s defense looked a lot better than the final statistics indicated Saturday night against Penn State. The Hawkeyes allowed 579 total yards, so says the box score, but their defense played well enough to keep the Lions to one touchdown before that game-winner at the very end. Josey Jewell also picked off Trace McSorley and recovered a McSorley fumble, continuing his fantastic start to the season.

On the other side of the ball, Nathan Stanley threw two more touchdown passes and didn’t throw a pick. Akrum Wadley had 155 rushing/receiving yards and two total touchdowns, both coming in the fourth quarter. Iowa's doing work on offense this season, which is something I didn't think I'd be saying two months ago.

So, no the Hawkeyes didn’t win, and they lost in a pretty brutal fashion. But they still look like an impressive team to me, one that if it can hang with the typically explosive top-five team that is Penn State can hang with just about anyone else in the Big Ten.

5. Nebraska responds

The football-related turmoil ain’t going away any time soon for the Huskers, who saw their athletics director fired last week, the casualty after the team’s embarrassing home loss to Northern Illinois.

But this weekend’s win over Rutgers served as a bit of a bounce back, even if beating Rutgers by 10 isn’t the kind of thing that’ll turn down the heat on Mike Riley. This was no dominating performance against the Big Ten’s worst program, but it was a win nonetheless to move Nebraska from 1-2 to 2-2. And a win is what this program needed after back-to-back losses and the firing of Shawn Eichorst.

As mentioned, Riley’s job is nowhere near “safe,” and it’s hard to see some sort of epic midseason turnaround with the likes of Wisconsin, Ohio State and Penn State still on the schedule — plus losable games against plenty of other conference foes. Who knows what the magic number is to make a determination one way or the other on Riley?

6. Buckeyes back?

If only Ohio State could play Army and UNLV every week, right?

The Buckeyes sure had a great day of practice, if nothing else, in a 54-21 romp of UNLV. The offense that caused so much consternation after the season’s first two weeks was a well-oiled machine, with touchdown passes going to seven different guys, a Big Ten record. J.T. Barrett threw five of those scoring passes, and backup Dwayne Haskins threw two more, actually throwing for more yards than Barrett.

Ohio State could find its season back on track in a hurry with three games coming against Rutgers, Maryland and Nebraska before a Halloween-weekend showdown with Penn State in Columbus that could determine the Big Ten East.

7. Not a big boy quite yet

Purdue’s gonna have to wait to rule the Big Ten, completely stifled in the second half of its loss to Michigan. As unpleasant as the Wolverines’ offense was to watch on Saturday, the Boilers’ wasn’t any better. Of course, that has a lot to do with the Michigan defense, which held the Purdue offense to just 10 yards after halftime, as you might’ve read in some other section of this very post.

Give Purdue props for winning at halftime and maintaining its status as “much better than last year.” The thought that the Boilers might’ve given Michigan a go will carry over into games against Minnesota, Rutgers, Nebraska, Illinois and Northwestern. And maybe we see Purdue rack up some more wins than we’re used to seeing.

8. Knocked off the pedestal

Unfortunately Maryland’s reign as one of the kings of the Big Ten East is over.

The Terps were hammered in a 38-10 home loss to UCF, a Group of Five team that could be the real deal in 2017. Maryland lost another quarterback to injury, Kasim Hill, meaning it was going at it with the third guy on the depth chart, less than ideal. But the Terps’ rushing attack was also bottled up pretty well by the Knights, accumulating only 42 yards on the day.

9. Sparty smashed

You might not guess it looking at the numbers, but Michigan State was crushed in a home loss to Notre Dame.

Brian Lewerke had a monster day, throwing for 340 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for another 56 yards. Sparty racked up nearly 500 yards of offense. But Michigan State also turned the ball over three times, all three leading directly to first-half touchdowns.

10. Give Goldy the ball!

Did you see Goldy Gopher truck a kid during a mascot football game? No? Well here it is.

See how they stack up: Week 4 college football top 25 rankings

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USA TODAY

See how they stack up: Week 4 college football top 25 rankings

With Week 4 in the books, here’s my top 25.

1. Clemson (4-0)

Believe it or don’t, the champs were tied with Boston College heading into the fourth quarter. But the Tigers scored four fourth-quarter touchdowns to blow out the Eagles and stay lookin’ good.

2. Alabama (4-0)

A most impressive trip to Nashville for the Tide, who spanked previously undefeated Vandy by a jaw-dropping 59-0 score. The way the SEC looks right now, there could be a lot of wins like this for Bama.

3. Oklahoma (4-0)

It was anything but smooth sailin’ cross the plains for the Sooner Schooner at Baylor, which dropped 41 points on Oklahoma. But the Sooners dropped 49 of their own, escaping with a classic Big 12 win.

4. TCU (4-0)

On the road at previously unstoppable Okie State, the Frogs turned in a sensational performance on both sides of the ball. Stifling D might be their thing, but they’ve also got 191 points in four games.

5. Penn State (4-0)

Penn State’s offense struggled against an Iowa defense that came to play. But the Lions won — in thrilling fashion — because Saquon Barkley and Trace McSorley are two of the best players in America.

6. Wisconsin (3-0)

Badgers were off this weekend, but they’re ready to unleash their offensive attack on the Big Ten when conference play starts next weekend. Good luck trying to stop Jonathan Taylor, Northwestern.

7. Georgia (4-0)

Looks like no one knew how good Georgia actually was. The Dawgs won the battle of the Bulldogs behind another great effort from freshman quarterback Jake Fromm: 9-for-12 for 201 yards and two TDs.

8. USC (4-0)

Not sure anyone can consider a 10-point win over Cal “impressive,” but USC is still undefeated. The offense is slowing a bit, though, after a high-scoring start. Sam Darnold has nine TDs and seven INTs.

9. Virginia Tech (4-0)

Since the tremendously entertaining season-opening win against West Virginia, the Hokies have won their last three games by a combined score of 129-17. Josh Jackson is so good, you guys.

10. Michigan (4-0)

The Michigan offense is not good. But the Michigan defense is good enough for the Wolverines to win any game this season. It held upstart Purdue to 10 yards in the second half on Saturday. Ten!

11. Oklahoma State (3-1)

Okie State’s Playoff train derailed against TCU and the Frogs’ great defense. Mason Rudolph still mustered nearly 400 passing yards, though, and this is still an obviously high-powered offense.

12. Washington (4-0)

I finally had to rank the Huskies, who finally scored an impressive win on the road at Colorado, beating the Buffs by four touchdowns. UW rushed for 254 yards and came away with three interceptions.

13. Miami (2-0)

The Canes have scored 93 points in their first two games, including 52 this weekend against Toledo — who Miami was losing to, 16-10, at halftime. Mark Walton: 204 rushing yards on only 11 carries!

14. Ohio State (3-1)

If the Buckeyes could play Army and UNLV every week, their offense would have no problems at all. Ohio State had seven different guys catch a touchdown pass this weekend, a Big Ten record.

15. West Virginia (3-1)

The good: Will Grier is still slingin’ and led a third straight 56-point-plus output for West Virginia. The bad: The Mountaineers gave up 34 points to Kansas, which I didn’t think was humanly possible.

16. Louisville (3-1)

The Cards blew out Kent State, getting a respite after three Power Five opponents to open the season. And this time the defense showed up, allowing just three points.

17. Duke (4-0)

Trailing at North Carolina well into the fourth quarter, the Dukies stayed undefeated, sealing Saturday night’s rivalry win with a late pick six. Duke welcomes in undefeated Miami on Friday.

18. Washington State (4-0)

It’s been more than a decade and a half since Wazzu was 4-0. The Fightin’ Leaches are predictably piling up points and could legitimately stage an upset of USC in their next game.

19. Auburn (3-1)

Auburn was the latest to take a turn beating up on my alma mater, crushing Mizzou by a 51-14 score. Kerryon Johnson — great name for a running back — had 18 carries. Five of them were touchdowns.

20. North Carolina State (3-1)

The Wolfpack went into Tallahassee and knocked off a preseason national-title favorite, a remarkable accomplishment. Also, how good is Bradley Chubb? He was a one-man wrecking crew vs. the Noles.

21. USF (4-0)

Another week, another blowout win for the Bulls. They rushed for 312 yards in the 43-7 destruction of Temple. The end-of-season USF-UCF game is actually looking pretty great right now.

22. Utah (4-0)

The Utes got a test from Arizona, which was within three points late in the third quarter. But a pick six effectively sealed the deal and kept Utah undefeated heading into an interesting Stanford-USC stretch.

23. Iowa (3-1)

The Hawkeyes didn’t beat highly ranked Penn State, and you can argue they lost in the most heartbreaking of fashions. But boy did that defense look good all night against an incredible offense.

24. Notre Dame (3-1)

After smoking Michigan State in East Lansing, ND has looked great against every opponent not named Georgia, and the Dawgs are proving to be a terrific loss at this point.

25. Florida (3-1)

The Gators still can’t score and needed a few different miracles to avoid losing to Kentucky for the first time in 30 years. But somehow, in the weird SEC, Florida’s gonna win 10 games again, aren’t they?

Others receiving votes:

San Diego State (4-0)

The Aztecs avoided disaster and came back to beat Air Force. Rashaad Penny had himself a day with three touchdown runs, including a 54-yard game-winning scamper in the fourth quarter.

UCF (2-0)

The Knights knocked Maryland off its pedestal as one of the kings of the Big Ten East. Seriously, though, what a performance, UCF going on the road and clubbing a Big Ten team 38-10.

Mississippi State (3-1)

You’d like to say Mississippi State isn’t for real after getting dominated by Georgia. But getting dominated by Georgia seems to be an excusable offense these days.

Stanford (2-2)

Stanford’s losses to USC and San Diego State are looking all right, and its win over UCLA — a 58-34 throttling — showcased Bryce Love as one of the country’s best players: 263 yards!

Vanderbilt (3-1)

Vandy’s bubble got burst pretty darn good against Bama — plenty of other teams can commiserate. But the Dores have still allowed just 13 points in their other three games.